We all want to have a beautiful smile, nice teeth and good breath, right? So we also all know that brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings are important, but Ayurveda offers a few other practices that are quite easy and cheap to introduce in your morning routine to improve oral (and general) health: tongue scraping and oil pulling.
I can speak from experience and tell you that my oral health and dramatically improved since I have included these practices. Many others would tell you the same. Benefits include reducing or eliminating cavities, receding gums and cracked teeth; freshening the breath; whitening the teeth, improving digestion, and more.
These two practices are best performed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and in this order:
1- Tongue Scraping
2- Tooth Brushing
3 - Oil Pulling
4- Drink something warm (lemon water, herbal tea, etc.)
DISCLAIMER : Note that these practices should not be used in place of traditional oral hygiene practices, such as brushing your teeth, flossing, getting routine cleanings and consulting your dentist regarding any oral hygiene problems.
The tongue is considered a very important organ in Ayurveda and is known as jivha, a word which has the same root as the word ‘life’. Scraping your tongue is just as important as brushing your teeth. According to Ayurveda, all toxins start in the mouth so if you let tongue bacteria accumulate, the toxicity spread down your gastrointestinal tract to the rest of the body.
This toxicity causes a weakened digestive fire, lowered immune system, and decreased the ability to assimilate nutrients which leads to health issues such as weight gain, acne, illness, bloating, gas, constipation, and other imbalances. We don't want that, do we? Scraping your tongue will prevent all the above.
Oil-pulling is essentially Ayurvedic mouthwash – but so much better than chemical-loaded Listerine. It involves swishing oil (coconut oil or sesame oil) around in the mouth in a similar way to mouthwash, but for a much more extended period. It has been used for thousands of years as an Indian folk remedy.
The main benefit of doing this is that it reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
There are hundreds of different types of bacteria in your mouth, some are friendly, others are not. The bacteria in your mouth create a biofilm on your teeth, a thin layer known as plaque. It's perfectly ok to have some plaque on your teeth, but if it gets out of hand, it can cause various problems, including bad breath, gum inflammation, gingivitis and cavities.
Note that some would suggest brushing the teeth immediately after an oil pull. However, some people believe that it is better not to brush right away to allow the retention of good bacteria and the rebalancing of the oral microbiome. I brush my teeth before oil pulling!
So there you go. I suggest you give it a try for a few weeks and see how it goes. I bet they'll soon become part of your morning routine!
Drop me a line if you have a question!